Hi. Thank you for being here. It's great to be home.
I would like to say thank you to everyone who hoped and prayed for my safe return. For a long time I had no idea so many people knew I'd been missing. But I read thousands of letters, many of them from children, who offered messages of hope and faith. I would like to thank the people in this community, especially those who gave donations to the Lynch fund and who volunteered their time and skills to work on my family's house.
Please allow me to thank the doctors, nurses and staff members of Walter Reed Army Medical Center (search) for the excellent care they gave me. I would like t Forces soldiers that saved my life.
I want to thank Sgt. Ruben Contreras. Ruben, you never let me give up. When I wanted to quit p-t (physical therapy), you kept me going. And you're my inspiration and I love you.
I'm proud to be a soldier in the Army. I'm proud to have served with the 507th (search). I'm happy that some of the soldiers I served with made it home alive and it hurts that some of my company didn't. Most of all, I miss Lori Piestewa. She was my best friend. She fought beside me and it was an honor to have served with her. Lori will always remain in my heart.
I read thousands of stories that said when I was captured, I said, "I'm an American soldier too." Those stories were right. Those were my words. I am an American soldier too.
Thank you for this welcome and it's great to be home.